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Jaylen Brown reaching new levels in East Finals

Jaylen Brown's 40-point outburst on Thursday gave the Celtics their first Game 2 victory of the postseason.

Jaylen Brown dominates with 40 points in the Celtics win over the Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

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The Situation: Jaylen Brown’s 40-point outburst on Thursday gave the Celtics their first Game 2 victory of the postseason and a 2-0 lead heading into tonight’s Game 3 (8:30 ET, ABC).

The Significance: Brown didn’t just tie his playoff career-high and match the third-most points in C’s history in an East Finals game — he marked the culmination of a season that’s seen him take his game to new heights.

The Road: After falling in the 2023 East Finals, Brown returned this season and talked about his desire to improve as a playmaker.

  • 🗣️ Brown In November 2023: “That’s the role that I want. That’s the role that I want to improve in. Teams are going to continue to try to take away certain things from me… so it’s a balance.”

Four months later, he was seeing the results — using the entire floor to attack while distributing and scoring more efficiently.

  • Left Is Right: This season, 57.3% of Brown’s drives are to his left — versus 46.5% last season
  • One Result: JB’s more balanced attack has helped increase his scoring frequency on isolations from the 54th percentile last season to 60th this season
  • Assists/Turnovers: Brown posted career-highs in assists (3.6 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.5) this season
  • Shooting: Despite taking his fewest shots per game (17.9) since 2020 and his fewest 3s per game (5.9) since 2019-20, Brown averaged 23.0 ppg this season on a career-high 49.9% field goal percentage
  • 🗣️ Brown In March 2024: “I feel like I improved on a lot of the stuff I needed to work on… Improve my mentality and attack my weaknesses. Some of the stuff that you could say about me last year, you can’t say this year.”

The Return: Brown, averaging a playoff career-high in points (24.8) and FG% (54.4%), has seen his individual numbers balloon, but says the root of his motivation comes from last year’s Game 7 ECF loss to the Heat.

  • 🗣️ Brown’s Motivation: “The loss. When you come up short on your home floor… We’ve had embarrassments, we’ve had mistakes. And I’ve used it all to improve.”